Complex family care decision

Many face difficult decisions when it comes to the care of elderly family members in later life.

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Andrew Cunnington
Published: 22 Jan 2018 Updated: 13 Jun 2022

Many face difficult decisions when it comes to the care of elderly family members in later life. Fortunately, expert help and advice that helps all members of the family find a mutually agreeable resolution is available.

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Case study

David, a client of Smith & Williamson, took over the management of the family electro engineering company when his father, Simon, retired ten years ago at the age of 72. For several years, Simon and his wife Jane continued to lead a full and active life, enjoying extensive travel and a busy social life.

Sadly, two years ago Jane suffered a sudden stroke, and after a significant time in hospital, recovered sufficiently to return home, though with limited ability to manage for herself. This led to a very different life for Simon, who now spent most of his time caring for his wife, determinedly focusing his energy on household management and care for Jane. Travel was no longer possible, and their social life slipped away.

More recently, David started to worry about his father’s own health. Simon was becoming rather forgetful, less steady, and the strain of looking after Jane was increasingly apparent. Unfortunately, Simon refused to listen to either David or his daughter Jenny about getting any help. Matters came to a head when Simon fell and broke a hip. Jenny brought her mother to stay with her and arranged an emergency family meeting with David

Care issues

The family was wrestling with numerous issues. Each time they tried to raise the subject of care and how both parents really needed some help they met a brick wall. Their parents were used to making their own decisions and did not like feeling that they were being told what to do. Jenny was experiencing first-hand the daily challenge of looking after her mother and despite being thirty years younger than her father, was struggling to cope.

Stressed and time-pressed, David and Jenny were told by the hospital that their father could not be discharged straight home without some care in place as it would be unsafe. They did not know what care was available nor how to choose between providers. To cap it all, care seemed extremely expensive.

How independent care advice can help

David remembered attending a seminar at Smith & Williamson which introduced Grace Consulting, a firm which specialises in helping families when care is needed. An appointment was quickly set up to meet one of their Care Advisers at Jenny’s home.

They spoke with Grace and found that there were straightforward solutions to their issues.

The fact that the Care Adviser was independent meant that all advice was unbiased. Importantly in this case, it also helped that the Care Adviser was from outside the family, removing all emotional ties and allowing conversation to flow. All concerns, care needs and preferences could finally be raised freely.

The Grace Care Adviser listened carefully, raised questions, discussed the available budget and all possible care options. It became clear that Simon and Jane were desperate to stay together at home, so a solution was ideally needed that could make this happen.

Through discussion and guidance the family decided together that a live-in carer would be the preferred solution, with access to respite breaks in a care home when needed. All state benefits and allowances were explained and the family was surprised to find that some benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, were not even means tested.

The Care Adviser was able to explain what to expect from the hospital discharge process and how to help it run smoothly. They were told to discuss intermediate care, available from the NHS, to help Simon once he was able to leave hospital.

Within 48 hours of the meeting, the Care Adviser provided the family with a written report containing shortlisted details of the most suitable providers of live-in care and most appropriate care homes for respite, in addition to relevant factsheets on topics such as paying for care and the NHS discharge and funding process.

Chris Cain, Executive Chairman, Grace Consulting
0800 137669

Smith & Williamson clients benefit from discounted access to Grace Consulting services

Many families suffer similar situations and there are solutions available that can help. Smith & Williamson is pleased to provide clients with discounted access to Grace Consulting’s services to help overcome complex care issues and move forward.

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.


This article was previously published on Smith & Williamson prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.